Has Differentiated Instruction Gone ‘Awry’ in Online Teaching and Learning?


  • Faizah Idrus The International Islamic University Malaysia
  • Nur Afini Zainal Asri The International Islamic University Malaysia
  • Nurin Najihah Baharom The International Islamic University Malaysia




Differentiated Instruction (DI), online teaching and learning, strategies, challenges, ESL teachers


Differentiated Instruction (DI) is a classroom strategy that helps teachers to cater their teachings to students with different abilities and learning needs. The issue here is whether DI is still relevant in the online teaching and learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the aim of this paper is to explore selected ESL teachers’ practices of differentiated instructions in their online classes. It also seeks to examine challenges these teachers withstand while implementing DI in their online classrooms. A qualitative design employing the semi-structured interviews and teachers’ reflection notes are used as data collection instruments. A total of six English language teachers from three selected schools in Malaysia took part in this investigation. Thematic analysis following Braun and Clarke (2006) is applied. The findings revealed that environmental strain, resources constraint and students’ and parents’ attitudes are the main challenges in DI while teaching in an online platform.

Author Biographies

Faizah Idrus, The International Islamic University Malaysia

Kulliyyah of Education

Nur Afini Zainal Asri, The International Islamic University Malaysia

Kulliyyah of Education

Nurin Najihah Baharom, The International Islamic University Malaysia

Kulliyyah of Education


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